Abstract

The Smoking Hills Upland and lower Horton River valley, on the Arctic coast of Canada 300 km east of the Mackenzie Delta, retain an extended record of subaerial erosion of nearly flat-lying Cretaceous shales. This erosion led to the development of (i) a very gently sloping low-relief upland surface (Early Pleistocene(?)), (ii) a slightly steeper intermediate surface, and (iii) younger steep valley walls, terraces, and broad valley bottoms. No direct glacial contribution to any of these landforms can be recognized. An early interglacial(?) fluvial episode is recorded in plateau-cap sediments. Suggestions of an early (mid-Pleistocene or earlier) glaciation overwhelming the Smoking Hills Upland are found in (i) anomalies in drainage patterns, (ii) disturbances in bedding, believed to have been caused by ice thrusting, and (iii) local occurrences of diamictons. Later, probably Early Wisconsinan, glaciation left meltwater channels in peripheral areas. The Late Wisconsinan ice sheet did not reach the Smoking Hills Upland but may have had an indirect influence by modyfying discharge and sediment transport of Horton River.

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